PhD candidate on Data Science in the Tax Domain

PhD candidate on Data Science in the Tax Domain

Published Deadline Location
8 Aug 1 Sep Leiden

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The section Tax Law of the Leiden Graduate School of Legal Studies of the Leiden Law School is looking for a PhD candidate on Data Science in the Tax Domain (1.00 fte).

Job description

Project Description

The International Tax System as a Complex System
In recent years there has been a growing interest in the perspective of complexity science to make sense of the behavior of, e.g., economic and financial markets. There is a strong call for interdisciplinary network analysis and behavioral modeling.
Legal documents and registered data of business and governmental institutions are easily available in electronic formats. This allows for new research methods in the legal domain that are more data-driven, which can subsequently result in new types of legal findings and conclusions and new insights in the complex behavior of the legal system as a whole.
In this case we think of data sources like published international law and regulations, annual business accounts, big data collections like the LuxLeaks and PanamaPapers, reported tax avoidance schemes by private companies and tax advisors, sets of rulings, (social) media coverage, etc.
The data sources and exploratory nature of his PhD research support the development, proof of concept, and use of techniques in the fields of both data science and artificial intelligence, e.g., text mining, game theory, and complex network theory and analysis.

Research Questions
The aim of this research is to gain new insights and knowledge to better describe and understand the complex behavior of the legal system in general and the international tax system specifically. This will present both from a scientific and a societal perspective very relevant and innovative perspectives. Questions to be answered are:

  • In what terms can the international tax system be defined and modeled as a complex system? What attributes does this system have? Do global patterns exist or emerge? 
  • What has been the behavior of (parts/aspects) of the international tax system? In terms of, e.g., the tax gap, legislative patterns, tax havens, and business behavior strategies?
  • What early warning signals, tipping points, etc. would be useful in monitoring and managing the international tax system, in order to be able to anticipate system changes?

In short, with this PhD project we aim to apply this research perspective of data-driven complexity science on the international tax system in order to investigate whether and how we can provide a (mathematical) understanding of its behavior.


Leiden University


  • You have completed a LL.M, a master in Computer Science, Statistics, Data Science, Mathematics, Information Science, or another relevant graduate program, with excellent grades.
  • Preferable qualifications include proven research talent, and practical skills in data science, and the willingness and ability to develop these.
  • You have an excellent command of the English language as well as outstanding writing and presentation skills.

Conditions of employment

We offer a position for 38 hours per week. The appointment as a PhD student will be for a period of four years (initially for a period of one year with an extension of three years after positive evaluation of progress and skills development) leading to the successful completion of a PhD thesis. The appointment will be under the terms of the cao (Collective Labour Agreement) of Dutch Universities. Salary range from € 2222.- to € 2840.- gross per month on a full-time basis (pay scale P), in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities).

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3 %), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break.More at

Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.


Universiteit Leiden

Leiden is a typical university city, hosting the oldest university in the Netherlands (1575). The University permeates the local surroundings; University premises are scattered throughout the city, and the students who live and study in Leiden give the city its relaxed yet vibrant atmosphere.

Leiden University is one of Europe's foremost research universities. This prominent position gives our graduates a leading edge in applying for academic posts and for functions outside academia.


Leiden Law School

The department of Tax Law is part of the Graduate School of the Leiden Law School. The Law School focuses on multi-faceted high-level teaching and research, both nationally and internationally. It does so by working with talented people and stimulating and supporting them in their professional and personal ambitions. Working for the Leiden Law School means working in an inspiring scientific environment.
Education and research within the department of Tax Law cover the tax system in its full width. It includes domestic, international and European tax law. 

Data Science Research Programme
The Leiden University Data Science Research Programme is a network of researchers from different scientific disciplines who use innovative methods to deal with large amounts of data. You will carry out research at the Data Science Research Programme and the Leiden Law School, with intensive interaction with the other candidates through joint research and participation in training modules, workshops and Summer Schools. To facilitate this, you will conduct part of your research and training at the new Data Science Lab (2 days a week) and the remaining part at the Law School.For more information, see and



  • PhD positions
  • Law
  • max. 38 hours per week, permanent
  • €2222—€2840 per month
  • University Graduate
  • 3262



P.C. Hooftlaan 13, 2332 AX, Leiden

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